Celebrity

Why would someone want a celebrity NFT right now? 4 entertainment experts weigh in on the 3 reasons NFTs are still the future of collectibles.

  • The NFT market has contracted since Fall 2021 as the crypto market crashes.
  • Celebrities touting crypto have become the subject of public ire as projects they endorsed have failed.
  • Industry vets say verification and utility make celebrity NFTs worthwhile investment opportunities.

As the crypto market tanks, everyone from late night hosts to South Park are trolling celebrities like Matt Damon who have starred in ads for cryptocurrency companies.

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, created by celebrities have also received backlash from the general public, and for good reason. Many flagship celebrity-endorsed NFT collections have tanked in value, leaving investors feeling short-changed and disillusioned.

Youtuber Logan Paul endorsed an NFT collection that has declined over 77% since its launch. The Floyd Mayweather-endorsed Bored Bunny NFT collection has been accused of being a scam that stole over $21 million from investors. Celebrity entrepreneur Tai Lopez’s NFT collection — where he promised NFT buyers a member-exclusive hotel, restaurant, and club —  saw its token fail and left many, like Youtuber Coffeezillawondering if he will be able to follow through on his commitment to purchase the multiple entertainment locations he promised NFT investors.

But despite their recent problems, many in the entertainment industry still view NFTs as a strong investment opportunity for celebrities and fans alike. Insider spoke with four entertainment experts who gave three reasons why celebrity NFTs are the future of the collectible market.

Genuine Support

The most obvious reason to purchase a celebrity NFT is to support an artist’s career.

“For lower tier artists who are starting out, NFT projects will help smaller artists be able to monetize and market themselves with non-traditional music partners,” Fred Coates, the manager of rapper and crypto enthusiast Juicy J, told Insider.

The best example of this is Mike Winkelman, better known as Beeple. Beeple had been an active digital creator since 2007. Prior to the NFT boom the highest his artwork ever sold for was $100but once he began creating NFTs his popularity and wealth surged. These gains carried onto early fans who saw the value of their Beeple collectibles surge after his now-iconic $69 million NFT sale of Everydays in 2021.

Verification & exposure

Lee Trink, the CEO of e-sports team FaZe Clan and former president of EMI music, said that the authentication NFTs provide — a digital stamp on a blockchain — would be vital to combat the autograph industry’s problem with fraud. According to autograph authentication service PSA / DNAup to 50% of the autographs they verify turn out to be counterfeit.

Trink also said that NFTs provide the ability for collectors to showcase their collectibles to larger audiences. “People are able to look into a public wallet and see what type of collector you are. Right now, people have incredible physical art collections, but the only people that see that are the people that walk into their house. When you own a digital piece of art, a great many more people are able to see that. As we enter a more digital society, digital assets matter more,” Trink said.

Utility

While most people may think of NFTs as online-only assets, NFTs have started to become keys to real world experiences — or in industry parlance, they provide utility.

Startups like Royal, which just raised $55 million from venture capital firm Andreeson Horowitz, provide fans with the ability to purchase NFTs of songs from artists like the Chainsmokers or Nas, and receive a percentage of the royalties from the song in return.

Thomas Fiss, vice president of OneOf — a celebrity NFT platform backed by musician Quincy Jones — said that celebrity NFTs can also provide fans with authenticated connections to their favorite artists. Experiences like VIP access, access to token-gated merchandise, or opportunities to listen to unreleased music make fans “jump at the potential to solidify their connection” to an artist, he said.

The ability to gain access to exclusive events has recently gone hand-in-hand with NFT collections, even if they’re unrelated to celebrities. The most prominent NFT collection, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, has become known for its NFTs providing access to exclusive events.

This past weekend, celebrity entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk of VaynerMedia threw a Web3 conference, Veeconwhich was only accessible to people who held one of his “VeeFriends” NFT.

Mike Boydhead of music strategy at VaynerMedia, told Insider the importance of exclusive community-based experiences tied to celebrity NFTs.

“The value of a celebrity’s utility-based NFT project is directly related to the amount of people that want to exercise any given option that they are granted through ownership of a token,” Boyd said.

Live meetups, private group chats, and NFT conferences help maintain the longevity of NFT projects, and when the celebrity themselves get involved with their NFT community, the token’s value increases.

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